Man stole from and assaulted woman he met online, court hears

Connor Richardson has been jailed at Norwich Crown Court after admitting fraud and assault offences.

Connor Richardson has been jailed at Norwich Crown Court after admitting fraud and assault offences. - Credit: Norfolk Constabulary.

A man who met a woman who was looking for love online assaulted her and stole her money after falsely telling her his mother had taken her own life.

The victim, who lives with multiple sclerosis (MS), met Connor Richardson, 25, on internet dating site Plenty of Fish in August 2020.

Norwich Crown Court heard the couple got on well and the victim began to think "she had met a partner for life".

But Stephen Spence, prosecuting, said Richardson soon began to complain about "not having enough money for food".

He said this was a pattern repeated over a few weeks with Richardson, who told the victim his mother had died by suicide when she had not, getting money for train tickets, food and other items.

He took £1,080.65 from the victim between August and November last year.

In addition to fraud, the victim was also assaulted, including an occasionin October last year at a hotel in Norwich when, after asking for proof about his lack of work, he became angry and grabbed hold of her.

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There were other times, including at the end of October last year, when he swung a chair at her and, in November last year, when he "threatened to slit her throat".

Richardson, from Peterborough, appeared at Norwich Crown Court on Tuesday (October 5) to be sentenced after previously admitting two counts of fraud, two offences of battery and two common assaults.

An impact statement described how the victim felt sorry for him as he said his mum had taken her own life, that she had believed him and looked to help him but she turned out to be "just another one of this man's victims".

Jailing Richardson for a total of 20 months, Recorder Douglas Edwards QC said he was "plainly a manipulative man who will stop at nothing to achieve your own ends causing considerable emotional distress".

Richardson was also made the subject of a restraining order prohibiting him from contacting the victim for the next five years.

Christopher Johnston, mitigating, said his mother was alive although they lived separate lives to each other.

He said Richardson had not deliberately targeted the victim and said the assaults against her were "not of the most serious" kind and were mentally rather than physically damaging.

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